12 Best Low Impact Cardio Machines of 2020

Last update: Nov 27, 2020

One of the biggest advantages of low-impact workout is that you can exercise to strengthen your muscles, core, lungs, and heart while saving your joints. So, if you are planning to do low-impact exercise at home, the remaining thing to do is buying the best low impact cardio machine.

Here are the best low impact cardio machines you can buy in 2020:

  • Best Overall (Elliptical Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905
  • Best For Heavy People (Elliptical Machines): Doufit Elliptical Machine
  • Under Desk Elliptical Machine (Elliptical Machines): Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
  • Best Overall (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
  • Best For Large-Framed People (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
  • Best For Bad Knees (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike
  • Best Overall (Treadmills): RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill
  • Best For Heavy People (Treadmills): Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
  • Compact (Treadmills): Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill
  • Best For Lower Back (Rowing Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
  • Compact (Rowing Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
  • Best For Weight Loss (Rowing Machines): Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine
12 Best Low Impact Cardio Machines
Best Overall
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905
  • Elliptical Machines
Best For Heavy People
Doufit Elliptical Machine
  • Elliptical Machines
Under Desk Elliptical Machine
Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
  • Elliptical Machines
Best Overall
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
  • Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Best For Large-Framed People
Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
  • Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Best For Bad Knees
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike
  • Recumbent Exercise Bikes
Best Overall
RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill
  • Treadmills
Best For Heavy People
Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
  • Treadmills
Compact
Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill
  • Treadmills
Best For Lower Back
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
  • Rowing Machines
Compact
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
  • Rowing Machines
Best For Weight Loss
Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine
  • Rowing Machines

Best Overall (Elliptical Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905
8.6Great
Pros
  • No pressure on joints - comfortable footpads, anti-slip handlebars, and a precise micro-controller
  • Achieve even and smooth movement - onboard stabilizers
  • Able to read your heart rate and many more fitness indicators - A digital display with hand pulse function
Cons
  • The stride is short

Tone and shape your body with risks-free about the impact on the knees or lower back with the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905.

This functional elliptical machine gives you even and smooth movement by featuring the onboard stabilizers. The comfortable footpads and anti-slip handlebars combine a precise micro-controller to ensure providing a smooth upper and lower body workout with no harsh impact on your joints.

A digital display with hand pulse function for heart rate readouts, besides, helps you track your progress optimally.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Specifications

Dimension

28" L x 17" W x 57" H

Max User Weight

220 pounds

Resistance Levels

8

Stride Length

11"

Highlight Features

Onboard stabilizers

A digital display with hand pulse function

Comfortable footpads, anti-slip handlebars, and a precise micro-controller

Verdict

Out of many contenders, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 wins our Best Overall Choice Award for its extraordinary performance at an incredibly low price.

Best For Heavy People (Elliptical Machines): Doufit Elliptical Machine

Doufit Elliptical Machine
Doufit Elliptical Machine
8.2Good
Pros
  • Heavy-duty, stable, and safe - extra-large, textured pedals and heavy-duty integrated steel frame
  • Deliver quiet and smooth workouts - high-quality flywheel
  • Great maneuverability – transportation wheels
Cons
  • The stride is a bit short
  • A bolt at the bottom of the main stand is too short

Doufit Elliptical Machine might not offer the one with the highest weight capacity, but its superior stability and safe performance help set it apart and become our top pick for heavy people.

That’s a big thank you to the extra-large, textured pedals and heavy-duty integrated steel frame. In addition to that, it has a high-quality flywheel for smoother and quieter workouts while still keeping your knees safe against impact.

A digital display with a pulse sensor is added to optimize your progress tracking, allowing you to achieve your fitness goal sooner.

While the design is so compact for simple storage, we do appreciate the added transportation wheels for higher maneuverability.

Doufit Elliptical Machine Specifications

Dimension

50 x 20.5 x 62 inches

Max User Weight

220lbs (about 100kg).

Resistance Levels

8

Stride Length

13.5 inches (34 cm).

Highlight Features

Transportation wheels

High-quality flywheel

Extra-large, textured pedals and heavy-duty integrated steel frame

Verdict

If you’re a heavy exerciser, the Doufit Elliptical Machine is worth considering.

Under Desk Elliptical Machine (Elliptical Machines): Stamina Inmotion Elliptical

Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Space-saving - measured just by 21 x 13 x 13 inches
  • Allow you to train different muscles – able to pedal forward and reverse
  • Help you track your stats – a monitor
  • Flexible and convenient – can be used sitting or standing
Cons
  • Require a high desk to make it work
  • Need frequent lubrication
  • A bit cumbersome to move around

This option is really perfect for those who are living in a narrow space or in a tight budget, or both. It is measured just by 21 x 13 x 13 inches, which fits enough under the desk when not in use and the price is under $100.

Regardless, this mini strider works efficiently and quietly.

It pedals forward and reverses to help you train different muscles. There also comes with an adjustable dial to fit your fitness level and fitness goals. The best part is an optional monitor where you can track your stats.

One unique thing is it can be used standing or sitting so you can work out while gaming or watching TV.

Stamina Inmotion Elliptical Specifications

Dimension

21 x 13 x 13 inches

Max User Weight

250 pounds

Resistance Levels

no

Stride Length

7"

Highlight Features

Pedal forward or reverse

Can be used sitting or standing

Adjustable tension with monitor

Measured just by 21 x 13 x 13 inches

Verdict

The Stamina has many of the specs that you would expect from a more expensive under-desk elliptical machines.

Best Overall (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Great support and comfort for your feet - counterbalanced pedals, adjustable foot straps, and well-padded seat
  • Great readability - LCD monitor with extra-large numbers
  • Good for bad knees and lower back pain sufferers - step-through design
Cons
  • The LCD screen has no backlit

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709 is currently one of the most affordable lines you can get on the market. Not to say that it’s frequently on a discount and the product’s frame is under a 2-year warranty.

There’re lots of great things to mention in this model.

Such as the counterbalanced pedals for better foot support and control, the adjustable foot straps for safety, the well-padded seat for impact-free on your body, and the LCD monitor with extra-large numbers.

We like its step-through design, which is ideal for people who have bad knees or lower back pain while the 140gauge steel tubing makes it feel so reliable.

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709 Specifications

Dimension

55.5 x 25 x 37.5 inches

Max User Weight

300 lbs.

Resistance Levels

8

Inseam Length

27" - 36"

Highlight Features

Counterbalanced pedals, adjustable foot straps, and well-padded seat

LCD monitor with extra-large numbers

Step-through design

Verdict

Whenever talking about the best recumbent exercise bike with low impact, the Marcy ME-709 is always our favorite go-to.

Best For Large-Framed People (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series

Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series
8Good
Pros
  • Offer comfortable workouts - a seat rail slider system, lumbar supporting backrest, and contoured seat
  • Give the best fit to your feet - pedals with wide, adjustable rubber straps
  • Conveniently track your fitness metrics while watching videos - DualTrack LCD screens and a tablet holder
Cons
  • Wish the built-in fan had a little more oomph
  • The built-in speakers pretty much blew
  • The built-in heart rate contacts are flaky

For men or anyone with a large-frame torso, the Schwinn 230 is a good choice.

It has a seat rail slider system to fit different heights and leg lengths while the lumbar supporting backrest and contoured seat offers comfortable workouts. Meanwhile, the pedals do have wide rubber straps that are adjustable to ensure fitting your feet the most.

The big selling point is its DualTrack LCD screens and a tablet holder mounted in the middle so you can easily track your fitness metrics while watching videos.

No matter your physical conditions, we believe the 22 preset workout programs will surely fit.

Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series Specifications

Dimension

64.00 x 27.70 x 49.90 inches

Max User Weight

300 lbs.

Resistance Levels

20

Inseam Length

25” to 31”

Highlight Features

A seat rail slider system, lumbar supporting backrest, and contoured seat

Pedals with wide, adjustable rubber straps

DualTrack LCD screens

Verdict

Don’t worry if you have a large frame, the Schwinn 230 – featuring a seat rail slider system with lumbar supporting backrest and contoured seat – will give you the best comfort while exercising.

Best For Bad Knees (Recumbent Exercise Bikes): Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike
8Good
Pros
  • Support the bad-knees effectively - easy step-through design and 16-level resistance magnetic tension
  • Easy controllability - color-performance monitor
  • Track your heartrate while exercising - pulse sensor hand grips
Cons
  • The electronic screen is a bit too basic
  • The seat could be better

Aside from an easy step-through design, this recumbent bike highlights 16-level resistance magnetic tension for significantly smoother motion, leaving no strain on your knees. So for bad knees, it’s a shining candidate.

On the other hand, it’s got compliments for easy controllability, all thanks to the color-performance monitor. It also has a pulse sensor hand grips to track your heart rate while exercising.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Specifications

Dimension

46 x 24.5 x 38 inches

Max User Weight

300 lbs.

Resistance Levels

16

Inseam Length

Min 29 in / Max 38 in.

Highlight Features

Easy step-through design and 16-level resistance magnetic tension

Color-performance monitor

Pulse sensor hand grips

Verdict

Built with care to provide the bad-knees with the highest comfort during their workouts, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike brings home our Best Buy Award.

Best Overall (Treadmills): RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill

RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill
RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill
8Good
Pros
  • Reliable – provide perfect after-sale services, CE-certified materials, and ISO9001 standard approval
  • Offer steady acceleration and deceleration & energy-saving - 1.5 chp DC drive system
  • Abrasion resistance, shock absorption, good slip resistance, and noise reduction - 7-level elastic platform design running belt
  • Control it remotely – the Fitness App
Cons
  • The phone app could be better
  • The console needs some improvements

If you plan for long-term investment on a treadmill, we highly recommend this under-desk portable treadmill by RHYTHM FUN.

It is backed by a 10-year warranty on the mainframe, a 1-year on parts, and a 2-year on the motor, meanwhile, the machine is made of CE-certified materials and meets ISO9001 standards.

Using a 1.5 chp DC drive system, it not just offers steady acceleration and deceleration but is also energy-saving. The running belt, on the other hand, is designed with a 7-level elastic platform design for abrasion resistance, shock absorption, good slip resistance, and noise reduction.

The machine also allows you to control its function as well as your fitness stats through its Fitness App. When not in use, it is easily folded for simple storage.

RHYTHM FUN Under Desk Treadmill Folding Portable Walking Treadmill Specifications

Peak Horsepower

1.5 Horsepower

Running Belt Size

18" or 45 cm

Walking Speed

Min. Speed: 0.5 Miles per Hour

Max Speed: 3.7 Miles per Hour

Highlight Features

The Fitness App

Provide perfect after-sale services, CE-certified materials, and ISO9001 standard approval

1.5 chp DC drive system

7-level elastic platform design running belt

Verdict

Designed with everything you might need on a good treadmill, the RHYTHM FUN is our Best Overall Choice Award winner for 2020.

Best For Heavy People (Treadmills): Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Extra-strong and durable – a weight capacity of 295 pounds
  • Impact reduction on the joints while exercising - a shock absorption technology
  • Allow for walking naturally - extra-large 44” x 19.5” running belt
  • Extra support - extensive handrails with multiple grips
Cons
  • A bit time-taking for assembly

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7857 is created to help heavy people improve their cardiovascular health and fitness.

While capably handling max user weight up to 295 pounds, it boasts a shock absorption technology for impact reduction on your joints while jogging or walking on it.

The extra-large 44” x 19.5” running belt allows you to walk more naturally, and the user-friendly console helps you track your stats better for faster fitness goal achievement. For extra support, it is built with extensive handrails with multiple grips along the sides, middle, and top of the low-deck treadmill.

Sunny Health & Fitness Walking Treadmill Specifications

Peak Horsepower

2.5-Peak horsepower

Running Belt Size

44L X 19.5W inch

Walking Speed

0.6 to 5 Miles per Hour

Highlight Features

Weight capacity of 295 pounds

A shock absorption technology

Extra-large 44” x 19.5” running belt

Extensive handrails with multiple grips

Verdict

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T7857 is unique in that it has a 295-pound weight capacity along with a built-in shock absorption technology, making it safe and effective for heavy exercisers.

Compact (Treadmills): Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill

Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill
Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill
8.4Good
Pros
  • Easily fit under any desk – flat design with 14” x 5” running belt size
  • Energy-saving – the Power Saving Mode
  • Safe and comfortable - active-use detection and shock-absorption technology
  • Convenient – a remote control
Cons
  • Not suitable tall people

While functioning well, this compact treadmill (with the running belt size of only 14” x 5”) can fit any corner of your house.

When you’re done, slow down and roll it out of the way.

The flat design makes it easy to slide under a desk to help you stay productive and fit while watching TV shows/videos. It is energy-saving and if the machine keeps running idly for over 10 minutes, it will automatically switch to Power Saving Mode.

This treadmill is also designed with your safety and comfort in mind. It highlights active-use detection and shock-absorption technology.

Finally, control it with convenience by using the stock remote control.

Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim Flat Treadmill Specifications

Running Belt Size

14 x 5

Walking Speed

0. 5 – 3. 75 MPH.

Highlight Features

Flat design with 14” x 5” running belt size

The Power Saving Mode

Active-use detection and shock-absorption technology

A remote control

Verdict

The biggest selling point of this option is its flat, compact design, which fits any under-desk space.

Best For Lower Back (Rowing Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515
8Good
Pros
  • Create the comfiest, most supportive exercising gesture - extra-long 48” slide rail, comfortable foam grip handlebars, and non-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps
  • You don’t have to lift it up for storing – transportation wheels
Cons
  • It does create a grinding (friction) sound sometimes

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 gives you the best of both worlds – effective training results and low impact on the lower back.

That is a big thank you to the extra-long 48” slide rail, comfortable foam grip handlebars, non-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps, and adjustable magnetic resistance.

This perfect combo together optimizes the most supportive exercising gesture to deliver zero stress on your lower back as well as other joints. Meanwhile, the extra-large LCD screen display helps you read your stats more easily and the transportation wheels help you not have to lift it up for storing.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW5515 Specifications

Weight

59 Pounds

Dimension

82 x 19 x 23 inches

Max User Weight

250 Lbs.

Resistance Levels

8

Stride Length

48 inches

Highlight Features

Extra-long 48” slide rail, comfortable foam grip handlebars, and non-slip foot pedals with adjustable foot straps

Transportation wheels

Verdict

If we were to give an award to the best rowing machine for lower back pain, this option would win.

Compact (Rowing Machines): Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205
9Outstanding
Pros
  • Able to tailor your exercising program - hydraulic 12-level resistance system
  • Anti-slip and comfortable - adjustable pedal straps & stabilizers
  • Provide an excellent cardiovascular workout & improves joint mobility to your body - sliding rower incline
Cons
  • The seat is a bit wobbly
  • Not for strong, tall people

This compact rower will give you more than its modest look.

The hydraulic 12-level resistance system controlled through a digital monitor will let you customize your own training program that fits your fitness level the most. Meanwhile, the adjustable pedal straps tailor your exercising experience.

Its stabilizers, on the other hand, help level the machine to your space efficiently.

The sliding rower incline provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and improves joint mobility to your knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows. The best part is there’s no pressure on your joints!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 Specifications

Weight

20.5 Pounds

Dimension

54 x 20 x 23 inches

Max User Weight

220LB

Resistance Levels

12

Highlight Features

Hydraulic 12-level resistance system

Adjustable pedal straps & stabilizers

Sliding rower incline

Verdict

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RW1205 allows you to row, sweat, and tone your shape without taking space in your house. It’s currently the most compact option out there without compromise of functionality.

Best For Weight Loss (Rowing Machines): Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine

Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine
Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine
8Good
Pros
  • Help you lose weight fast, safely, and efficiently – activate 86% of your body’s musculature
  • Always match your pace - Dynamic Air Resistance
Cons
  • Work a bit loudly

While most rowing machines are built for building muscles, not to lose weight, this option can do both.

By activating 86% of your body’s musculature, it helps your body be healthier, stronger, and get a better fit. A bit different from other counterparts, it highlights Dynamic Air Resistance to always fit your pace.

A big bonus for its improvements on the floor protector safeguard, oversized angle rail, padded rowing handle, adjustable footplates, and seat. Besides, the foldable construction with transportation wheels makes storage like a breeze.

Stamina ATS Air Rower | Rowing Machine Specifications

Weight

24.04 Kilograms

Dimension

77 x 18 x 22 inches

Max User Weight

250 Pounds

Highlight Features

Activate 86% of your body’s musculature

Dynamic Air Resistance

Verdict

If you’re seeking the best low-impact rowing machine for weight loss, the Stamina ATS Air Rower fits the bill.

How To Choose The Best Low Impact Cardio Machine?

Types

Elliptical machines

In the past, elliptical machines were used at gyms only, but they are now widely used at homes as they offer low-impact workouts for users. The flywheel of an elliptical machine can be at the front for a compact design, at the back for easy maintenance, or at the rear for the most stability.

When buying an elliptical machine, you can get these extra features:

  • Size: buy choosing different designs, you can choose different sizes to fit the space available at your home for storage.

  • Variable stride length: this feature allows people of different heights to work out on one machine.

  • Preset programs: an elliptical machine can include various workout programs so you can choose different levels to exercise.

  • Heart rate monitors: this helps you keep track of the workout intensity.

  • Speakers, USB ports: this help provide entertainment while you’re exercising.

Recumbent bikes

This type of cardio machine avoids putting pressure on your back, ankles, and knees. Recumbent bikes also allow for hands-free exercise. They also offer the following features:

  • Seat: a seat with good ventilation and thick padding provides comfort and an adjustable seat will provide versatility for you.

  • Display: this will show you important information like heart rate, calories burned, revolutions per minute, time, distance, and speed.

  • Fans, speakers, cup holders: these add-ons provide more comfort for your workout.

  • Heart rate monitors: these are often mounted on the handles to track the intensity of your workout.

  • Preset programs: the more preset programs, the more options you have to diversify your workouts.

  • Hand pedals, armrests, handles: these things are often attached next to the seat instead of the front of the bike.

Treadmills

These machines are specifically suitable for walking. With basic models, the maximum speed doesn’t exceed 6 mph with few incline choices. A treadmill can offer these features:

  • Fans: they blow on your face directly to make your walk more comfortable.

  • Speakers and USB ports: these lets you play music or your favorite audios when you’re exercising

  • Foldability: you should choose a foldable machine if you have limited storage.

  • Heart rate monitor: like with other types of cardio machines, this will help you see how intense your workout is.

  • Display: while a basic display shows data like time, speed, and distance, a higher-end one will show more data like the heart rate.

  • Preset programs: you can choose among different numbers of preset programs depending on your needs.

Rowing machines

These machines offer intense workout while being low-impact by minimizing the pressure on the ankles and the knees. If you buy a rowing machine, you need to consider the following features:

  • Foldability and size: always choose a machine that can fit your house, either a small machine or a foldable one if you have little storage space.

  • Design: you should go with a comfortable design like rubber grips or contoured seats for more comfort. An adjustable seat also makes your workouts more enjoyable.

  • Resistance type: you can choose magnetic resistance, water resistance, air resistance, or hydraulic resistance.

  • Monitor: if you want to keep track of your workout, this feature would help

Cost Comparison

For under $500, you will find decent recumbent bikes, elliptical machines, and rowing machines with limited resistance levels and few features. Treadmills in this price range are not reliable enough.

For $500 to $1000, you will find more durable machines with more features. You can even get a top-notch recumbent bike for this price range.

For $1000 to $2000, you will find incredibly durable treadmills and elliptical machines with impressive extra features. You can also get the best rowing machines with this money, but this price range has exceeded recumbent bikes’ pricing.

If you pay over $2000, you will get better and better options for treadmills and elliptical machines with all the features you could expect.

Which Brands Make The Best Low Impact Cardio Machine?

Sunny Health & Fitness

This is a leading brand in health and fitness products. It offers cardio machines for high quality at competitive prices.

Stamina

This brand has built a reputation in the market for fitness and leisure products. It focuses on quality, affordability, flexibility, and endurance.

Marcy Pro

Since 1982, Marcy Pro has become a renowned manufacturer of fitness products. It stands out from competitors for a combination of quality and innovation.

Schwinn Fitness

Founded in 1895, this brand has had over a century of experience in making fitness products. Now, it aims at bringing technology to your home, helping you optimize your workout.

FAQs

Is low impact cardio good for weight loss?

Yes, it is. But you will have to do low-impact cardio for a longer time to get the same result as high-impact workouts.

Which cardio machine burns the most fat?

Treadmills and rowing machines are the two machines that burn the most fat.

Does walking strengthen your core?

Yes, it does. In fact, walking is the best workout to train your core and get rid of body fat.

Are low impact cardio machines good for bad knees?

Yes, they do. Exercising low-impact workouts on a cardio machine provides these benefits:

  • Higher blood flow to the cartilage, more nutrients to keep it healthy

  • Stronger muscles around the knee, reducing pressure on the joint.

Do low impact cardio machines strengthen your core?

Yes, they do. Especially, rowing machines excel in strengthening your core, arms, and legs.

Conclusion

We hope that through this comprehensive guide, you have figured out what to look for in the best low impact cardio machine. No matter what type of machine and what brand you go with, make sure you will be the most comfortable when exercising. Good luck!


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